Friday, October 28, 2022

The Evolving Future of Food - Taxing Meat

The globe is entering a new food reality.  There are shortages (and looming shortages) of many food items and certain food items, particularly meat, are falling under the critical eyes of the ruling class who are doing their utmost to wean us from our "meat habit" under the guise of protecting the global environment.  In this posting, we will look at one study that attempts to explain a mechanism for reducing meat consumption, thereby protecting Mother Earth.


A report entitled "Is Meat Too Cheap? Towards Optimal Meat Taxation" by Franziska Funke et al at the Institute for New Economic Thinking at the Oxford Martin School at the University of Oxford:


...opens by noting that livestock plays a significant role global environmental issues and negatively impacts issues around climate change, global nitrogen and phosphorus cycles, water and land use and biodiversity, issues that need to be solved since the global trajectory of meat production and consumption is unsustainable.  A failure to mitigate the greenhouse gas emissions from the meat industry in particular (and agriculture as a whole) could preclude meeting the 1.5 degree Celsius climate change objective.  The authors note that, as it stands currently, the retail price of meat does not reflect the negative ecological impact of the industry given that livestock farming is responsible for roughly 13 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Here is a graphic showing the impact of the meat industry on the environment:



Here is a quote from the paper:


"...the requirements of a net-zero carbon transition, and calls for ‘building back better’ after the Covid-19 pandemic, have raised not only the need, but also the prospects of more stringent regulation of meat in developed countries. From the perspective of environmental economics, it is clear that appropriate pricing of meat, which reflects its social costs, should be at the core of such regulation."


The authors note the following three key environmental externalities from meat production:


1.) emission of methane (from enteric fermentation in ruminants and manure storage), nitrous oxide (from fertilizer application and manure processing) and carbon dioxide from feed-related direct land- use changes and energy use


2.) nutrient pollution in the form of ammonia (NH3), nitrogen oxides (NOx), nitrates (NO3−) and organic N, results in soil acidification, eutrophication of oceans and freshwater pollution. Through ammonia emissions and particulate matter from animal manure, livestock is also a significant contributor to local air pollution, causing respiratory health issues in agricultural workers, local residents and the general population. 


3.) biodiversity loss from livestock farming is largely driven by land use change. The associated social costs of decreasing biodiversity will be much higher once the total economic damage from destroyed ecosystems is included, for example the loss of regulating, supporting and cultural ecosystem services.


To date, governments have been unwilling to use fiscal policies to address the costs of meat production and with good reason given the potential negative political implications of yet another tax, particularly while food prices and food price inflation remain at elevated levels.  Nonetheless, the authors suggest that livestock farming and meat consumption should be...

"...subject to targeted externality-correcting instruments: optimal carbon pricing, nitrogen regulation and ecosystem valuation. In the absence of these options, however, meat taxes can be an attractive second-best instrument to make progress on many regulatory objectives at once, for which livestock production and meat consumption are of primary importance."


Here is a table showing the potential components of a tax on meat above and beyond the current VAT (in the EU):


Here is an additional quote:


"As a simple example, take two prominent environmental externalities of livestock farming, greenhouse gas emissions and nutrient pollution: A fully externality-correcting tax on GHG emissions from livestock will likely have the co-benefit of reducing local nutrient pollution."


Of course, given that we now live in the era of the "plant-based diet, the authors note that consumers will shift to meat substitutes as meat consumption decreases with my bolds:


"A reduction in the consumption of meat is likely to be accompanied by a shift to meat substitutes, which in general have a lower environmental impact, especially when they are plant-based. There is a large variety of such substitutes, ranging from unprocessed foods such as beans or lentils, to more processed plant-based products (meat analogues) such as tofu and Quorn, to novel prroducts such as lab-based, or ‘cultured’ meat. However, for the most novel products information about upscaling is not yet available. Over the past decade, continued innovation has allowed for the commercialization of a larger variety of meat analogues, many with a close semblance to meat, such as the ‘Beyond’ and ‘Impossible’ burgers. The first proof of concept of cultured meat was showcased in 2013: a burger reputed to have cost over $250K. Costs have already decreased substantially but much uncertainty remains around the costs of mass production.


By further encouraging the uptake of meat substitutes, the introduction of a meat tax, as an indirect alternative to higher R&D subsidies, could accelerate the development and commercialization of cultured meat and meat analogues. This indirect effect of meat taxes on innovation might be a justification for higher present-day taxes on meat consumption....


Meat taxes can encourage the uptake of alternative protein products by decreasing their relative price and thereby making them more competitive with conventional meat products. The success of meat alternatives, however, will to a large extent depend on the degree of substitutability between meat and alternative protein products, with those that are cheap and have the taste and “mouth-feel” of meat more likely to gain the largest market share."

Setting the stage for eating insects, weeds and 3D printed "meat", are we?


While the authors observe that meat taxes could be met with strong public opposition, they offer the following solution to that issue:


"Nevertheless, the design of actual meat taxation policies can be modified to increase public support. Work on public support for carbon pricing suggests that the framing of the tax proposal and use of revenues are decisive determinants for getting citizens on board.  In a study of German, US American and Chinese citizens, Fesenfeld et al. (2020) demonstrate that policy packaging can enhance support of meat taxes. The public support for taxes has been highest when they were at a moderate level and combined with popular policies such as animal welfare standards, discounts on vegetarian meals and information campaigns. More ambitious meat taxes can also be made more appealing by simultaneously lowering agricultural subsidies to meat farmers, introducing more stringent farming standards, and using tax revenue to support low-income households."


Given the unprecedented growth in indebtedness that governments have accrued during the pandemic, they will be desperate for any source of income, particularly as interest rates on their sovereign debt rises.  A tax on meat fulfills part of their desire to help the serf class part with their hard-earned money.  Fortunately, the demonstrations by farmers in many countries, but most particularly the Netherlands...

...are showing the global oligarchy that their dystopic plans for a carbon-free future which includes those in the livestock industry may not be as widely loved by the masses as they may hope.

Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Smart Thermostats - What Lies Ahead for Consumers

As part of the Great Reset under which the organ donor class will feel the overriding powers of the ruling class as they further attempt to control every aspect of our lives, particularly our use of energy, a program operated by Alliant Energy in Iowa and Wisconsin is, perhaps, a harbinger of what lies ahead.


Here is the lead webpage for the program:


Under the program, Alliant will be able to control eligible smart thermostats which include the following:


• Google Nest Thermostat

• Google Nest Learning Thermostat

• Google Nest Thermostat E

• ecobee3 Lite Thermostat

• ecobee4

• ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control

• Emerson Sensi Classic Smart Thermostat

• Emerson Sensi Touch Smart Thermostat with Color Touchscreen


Here is the justification for the program:


When Alliant Energy's customers sign up, they can choose to be enrolled one of three options: the summer program, the winter program or a program that combines both seasons.  Once signed up, Alliant will monitor the customer's smart thermostat to establish their regular heating and cooling settings " that we can be sure to keep you comfortable on event days...", i.e. days when demand for Alliant's energy is predicted to spike.  On those days, Alliant will schedule a "Smart Hours" event which will allow the company to adjust the customer's thermostat schedule by heating or cooling their home before the predicted energy spike followed by a reduction in energy use during the Smart Hours event. The company states that there will be a maximum of 15 Smart Hours events during the summer season (June 1 to September 30) and winter season (December 1 to March 31).  The company will rarely reduce a customer's energy use for more than four hours and never on weekends or weekdays.  If a customer's home fluctuates by more than a few degrees, their home air-conditioning or heating system will automatically kick in to return the dwelling to the customer's preferred temperature setting.   This will allow the company to flatten the energy spike, allegedly allowing the company to minimize energy price increases.


Of course, given the "everything is about climate change" age in which we are living, Alliant Energy states that its Smart Hours program will help the environment as quoted here:


"When demand for electricity is high, sometimes energy providers need to turn to more expensive power sources to accommodate everyone’s needs. Alliant Energy Smart Hours helps the environment by allowing us to avoid turning on less environmentally friendly energy sources to meet electricity demand on extra-hot or extra-cold days."


Remember, it's all about the environment and has absolutely nothing to do with increasing the company's profitability.  Really, trust them.


So, for essentially handing over control of their home heating and cooling systems, Alliant Energy's customers in Iowa receive a $50 enrolment bonus and those in Wisconsin will receive a $25 enrollment bonus plus an additional $25 when they sign up their water heater later in 2022  In addition, enrollees will receive a with a $25 virtual prepaid Mastercard for every season that they are eligible to participate in the program.


Of course, right now this scheme is voluntary but it sets the stage for a program that could become mandatory in the future when our personal energy consumption is fully controlled by the ruling class, all in the name of protecting the environment (so that they can use their limousines and personal jets to their heart's content) because the useless eaters are are simply too stupid to know how to control it without their assistance.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Saudi Arabia, BRICS and the Growing Influence of the Global South

With the recent decision by OPEC+ to reduce oil production by 2 million barrels of oil per day and Washington's backlash to the cuts, recent developments are of particular interest, particularly in light of the world's changing geopolitical landscape. 


Here is recent news on Saudi Arabia as reported by TASS:


Here is further coverage on Saudi Arabia's interest in joining BRICS from China's Global Times:


Here is a quote from the Global Times news item with my bolds:


"A senior US official said on Sunday that US President Joe Biden has "no plans" to meet with the Saudi Crown Prince at next month's G20 summit in Indonesia, Aljazeera reported. 


Meanwhile, Saudi officials have made it clear that they would not take orders from the US. The CEO of the Future Investment Initiative, the organizer of the "Davos of the Desert" Saudi investment conference, said on Monday that US government officials will not be invited to attend the event at the end of this month, according to media reports. 


The US wanted Saudi Arabia to listen to its orders and meet its demands, but the fact proved that Washington has overplayed its hand, a Beijing-based international relations expert told the Global Times on Wednesday, requesting anonymity. 


The US is completely utilitarian in its relations with Saudi Arabia, the expert said, adding that "the idea of joining BRICS shows Saudi Arabia's growing autonomy in its diplomacy with Washington.


It was not a difficult choice for the Saudis to make, given the US' domestic turmoil and the instability of the country's policies, the expert said, noting that "joining BRICS will also protect Saudi Arabia's own energy interests in a substantive way, rather than being a card to be used by others."


According to TASS, the BRICS group which currently consists of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, BRICS member states have been approached by a number of countries which are interested in joining the group.  IN fact, at the BRICS+ meeting held in June 2022, the following participants were in attendance, showing how the group is attracting a wide range of potential members:


President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, Vice President of Brazil Hamilton Mourao, President of Algeria Abdelmadjid Tebboune, President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez, President of Egypt Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, President of Indonesia Joko Widodo, President of Iran Sayyid Ebrahim Raisi, President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Prime Minister of Cambodia Hun Sen, Prime Minister of Malaysia Ismail Sabri Yaakob, President of Senegal Macky Sall, Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-cha, President of Uzbekistan Shavkat Mirziyoyev, Prime Minister of Fiji Voreqe Bainimarama, and Prime Minister of Ethiopia Abiy Ahmed.


As background, the emerging economies of the BRICS nations are significant to the world's economy as follows:


1.) 40 percent of the global population


2.) 25 percent of the global economy worth USD 16.039 trillion


3.) 30 percent of the world's land mass


4.) 18 percent of world trade


BRICS nations are also exploring the possibility of creating an international reserve currency based on the basket of BRICS currencies with the ultimate goal of reducing the United States ability to use its dollar as a weapon as reported here:



In addition, BRICS member nations are also increasing the use of local currencies in mutual trade among its members.


As further background regarding the growing influence of the BRICS partnership, here is a quote from a press release from the June 2022 XIV BRICS Summit held in China, again with my bolds:


"The  world's economic center of gravity has been shifting from the North to the developing South, said the Global Development Report issued Monday by the Center for International Knowledge on Development.


The gross domestic product share of emerging markets and developing countries in the global economy evaluated by purchasing power parity increased from roughly the same as that of advanced economies during the financial crisis to nearly 60 percent in 2020, the report said.


The global governance system is being rapidly reshaped, with developing countries making more of their voices heard. Meanwhile, more global governance platforms are emerging. The G20, BRICS, and a variety of  regional and sub-regional cooperation bodies are playing an increasingly  important role, according to the report.


Once Saudi Arabia joins BRICS, it will send a message to other nations in the Middle East that it is advantageous to strengthen diplomatic and economic ties with BRICS nations with the goal of weakening American hegemony in the region and on a wider global scale. 

There is no doubt that the world is undergoing a geopolitical sea change whether Washington likes it or not.

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

The Biden Administration's COVID-19 Vaccine Promotion Campaign

Thanks to a lawsuit by Judicial Watch, the Department of Health and Human Services was forced to release documents revealing the Biden Administration's campaign to convince the American public to accept the mRNA COVID-19 vaccines.  


Here is the Judicial Watch announcement:


Judicial Watch's Freedom of Information Act lawsuit requested the following:


1.) All records regarding the Department of Health and Human Services’ “COVID-19 Community Corps” program, which was announced by the department on April 1, 2021. This request includes the following:

2.) All records depicting the application process and selection criteria for organizations participating in the program.

3.) All records related to the consideration of any organization considered for participation in the program that were not selected.

4.) All records concerning any awarded or proposed related grants or contracts with any organization participating in the program.

5.) All related records of communication between any representative of the Department of Health and Human Services and any representative of any organization participating in the program.

In case you haven't heard of the COVID-19 Community Corps (also known as "We Can Do This"), it was described as following on the HHS COVID Comment Corps website:



...and here:


"The Corps, launched in April 2021, has nearly 17,000 members, including individuals and organizations big and small, in communities all around the country. We’re growing every day as vaccinating as many people as possible becomes even more critical to our nation’s health, communities, and economy."

Members included the following (among others):



Let's look at one of the more interesting documents that was released by HHS.  This document outlines the roadmap for the Public Education Campaign (PEC) Plan dated: April 19th to May 31, 2021 and the major projects to be undertaken:



Notice that the campaign involved the following components and players:


1.) Share the Mic program with Michelle Obama, Kerry Washington and Eva Longoria


2.) Press events on BBC News, iHeartRadio, NPR


3.) Late night hosts vaccination video


4.) State of the Pandemic YouTube Town Hall


5.) Round-table with national radio broadcast - hosted by Kamal Harris including Steve Harvey, DL Hughley, Charlamagne Tha God


6.) Oprah OWN Townhall with Dr. Fauci


7.) Proposed Share the Mic with President Obama


8.) Launch Hollywood Comedy writers video content


9.) Create a TikTok #PassTheMic campaign with major influencers to begin the series


10.)  Create custom partnerships with social media platforms with algorithms to hit this audience


11.) Work with YouTube on an original series about vaccinations targeted to younger people


12.) Dr. Biden and Dr. Walensky to host a Kids Blogger Roundtable to answer kids' questions about the pandemic and the vaccine


13.) Work with Instagram to produce a series about vaccines for @Instagram.  Feature young creators doing in-depth pieces about young people's questions


14.) Request a vaccination special on Christian Broadcast Network featuring Evangelical leaders


15.) Request that the major live TV entertainment show feature hosts being vaccinated on air


16.) Place a trusted messenger on the Joe Rogan Show and Barstool Sports to promote vaccination (work with outside experts to identify who will be the most effective)


17.) Request a co-branded "We Can Do This" effort with Walmart for videos and info sources for in-store screens, point of purchase displays and info in the pharmacies.


18.) Work with NFL, NASCAR, MLB and CMA to request that they create content with their talent and release through their broadcast and social channels.


19.) Partner with Disneyland Parks for vaccination events when the amusement parks reopen.


20.) Work with the Hollywood Guilds (i.e. Writers Guild, Directors Guild) to work vaccination messaging into scripted and reality TV shows.


Given this information on how the Biden Administration was proposing to handle its single-minded approach to solving the pandemic, is it any wonder that some of us felt totally overwhelmed with the amount of COVID-19 vaccination information that was inundating every aspect of our lives 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?


Let's close with this:


"1.) Propaganda must be planned and executed by only one authority.

It must issue all the propaganda directives.

It must explain propaganda directives to important officials and maintain their morale.

It must oversee other agencies' activities which have propaganda consequences.


2.) To be perceived, propaganda must evoke the interest of an audience and must be transmitted through an attention-getting medium.

3.) Propaganda may be facilitated by leaders with prestige.

4.) Propaganda must be carefully timed.

5.) The communication must reach the audience ahead of competing propaganda.

6.) A propaganda campaign must begin at the optimum moment.

7.) A propaganda theme must be repeated, but not beyond some point of diminishing effectiveness.

8.) Propaganda must label events and people with distinctive phrases or slogans. (think antivaxxers as an example)

They must evoke responses which the audience previously possesses.

They must be capable of being easily learned.

They must be utilized again and again, but only in appropriate situations.

They must be boomerang-proof.

All of these are quotes from a diary found after the end of World War II.  The diary happened to have been the property of Dr. Joseph Goebbels, Adolph Hitler's Propaganda Minister.

Monday, October 17, 2022

A Return to the Gold Standard

Let's open this posting by looking at some charts from FRED:


1.) M2 which is defined as follows:


"Before May 2020, M2 consists of M1 plus (1) savings deposits (including money market deposit accounts); (2) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000) less individual retirement account (IRA) and Keogh balances at depository institutions; and (3) balances in retail money market funds (MMFs) less IRA and Keogh balances at MMFs. 


Beginning May 2020, M2 consists of M1 plus (1) small-denomination time deposits (time deposits in amounts of less than $100,000) less IRA and Keogh balances at depository institutions; and (2) balances in retail MMFs less IRA and Keogh balances at MMFs. Seasonally adjusted M2 is constructed by summing savings deposits (before May 2020), small-denomination time deposits, and retail MMFs, each seasonally adjusted separately, and adding this result to seasonally adjusted M1."


2.) Federal Reserve balance sheet/total assets:


3.) Currency in circulation:


As you can see, in all cases particularly since the 2020 pandemic-related recession, the Federal Reserve has been very busy running its "printing presses" at full speed which has resulted in this:



...which has led to a massive devaluation in the value of a dollar.  In fact, it would take $29.80 today to purchase what $1 would have purchased in 1913 when the Federal Reserve Act was enacted.  A great deal of the devaluation of the dollar can be laid at the feet of President Richard Nixon who ended the convertibility of the United States dollar to gold in 1971 under his New Economic Policy aka the "Nixon Shock" which marked the end of the Bretton Woods system of fixed exchange rates which was adopted near the end of the Second World War to stabilize the world's post-war economy.


Alex Mooney (R-WV) recently introduced House Resolution H.R.9157 entitled the "Gold Standard Restoration Act" which would, for the first time in over 50 years, repeg the dollar to gold in an effort to stop runaway inflation, the devaluation of the U.S. dollar and the unceasing growth in federal government debt. 


Here is H.R. 9157 in its entirety:


Here are two interesting extracts, giving us the "sense of Congress":


"The Federal Reserve note has lost more than 30 percent of its purchasing power since 2000, and 97 percent of its purchasing power since the passage of the Federal Reserve Act in 1913."

"Under the gold standard through 1913 the United States economy grew at an annual average of four percent, one-third larger than the growth rate since then and twice the level since 2000."


H.R. 9157 also notes that even with the Fed's 2 percent inflation mandate, over a 35 year period, the dollar will lose half of its purchasing power.


Under the Act, the Federal Reserve will have 30 months from the date of enactment to accomplish the following:


1.) define the Federal Reserve note dollar in terms of a fixed weight of gold, based on that day’s closing market price of gold.


2.) Federal Reserve banks shall make Federal Reserve notes redeemable for and exchangeable with gold at the fixed price and create processes that facilitate such redemptions and exchanges between member banks and the public.


If a Federal Reserve bank fails to meet its duties under the Act, the Secretary of the Treasury will make the redemption or exchange as guarantor and place a lien on all of the assets of the offending bank.


As well, under the Act, the Federal Reserve's Board of Governors and the Secretary of the Treasury must make public all gold holdings held by the Fed as well as reports of any purchases, sales, swaps, leases or any other financial transactions involving gold that took place since the "temporary" suspension of gold redeemability on August 15, 1971.  As well, all records of transactions of United States gold in the ten years prior to August 15, 1971 must also be released to the public.  Both of these have been secret for decades.  Alex Mooney had requested information about U.S. gold reserves from Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen in 2021 with this letter:



Here is the reply from the Department of the Treasury which basically clarifies nothing but further exemplifies the secrecy when it comes to U.S. gold reserves:



H.R. 9157 has been referred to the House Committee on Financial Services by the House of Representatives, however, you can pretty much assure yourself that the powers that be in Washington and the Federal Reserve will, unfortunately, never let this bill progress past the debate stage given Washington's addiction to debt.